25 June 2014
OPINION: US Memo Justifying Drone Use Against Civilians Disgraces America's Own Values
By Alice Slater
Ria Novosti


US MQ-9 Reaper drone in flight

WASHINGTON (RIA Novosti) - Lyudmula Chernova - The court-ordered release of a secret US government legal memo justifying the use of drones against civilians discredits the very values Washington tries to promote around the globe, New York director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

“It has only highlighted the disgraceful lack of respect for the very laws and constitutional protections that America has always proclaimed as its unique contribution to world order and the advancement of civilization,” Alice Slater said, stressing that there is no justification for a killer behind a desk somewhere in the US to aim his computer joystick at a human being thousands of miles away.

The alarming memo uncovered this week revealed the fact that the White House believes that the assassination of Americans overseas can be justified if the targeted nationals side with the enemy terrorist group. The notion of American killings by drones or other means alarms many rights groups, which believe that a state should never use lethal force against anyone without a trial.

Apart from the flawed nature of this justification, Slater drew attention to the actual scale of the problem.

“More than 4,000 people have been murdered by drones, many of them civilians - old people, and children as well,” Slater said, adding that this is often done without benefit of charges, evidence, or trial.

The peace advocate finds it especially outrageous that America's quest to eradicate terrorism is triggering high-profile impunity in the US government structures.

“There is a growing lawlessness at the highest levels of government, justified by the criminal destruction of the World Trade towers in 2001,” she stated.

“Instead of treating that tragic catastrophe as a criminal act, punishable in a court of law, a phony “war on terror” was declared and enabled the obscene growth of the US military-industrial complex, and a flagrant disregard for traditional American rights, “ Slater said, alarmed that too many individuals have faced military tribunals or worse, have had no due process at all despite spending years in detainment.

Alice Slater conludes that the latest memo deserves nothing but derision, as it only serves to highlight how far America has strayed from its own ideals and legal virtue.

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